Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Thomas Cardinal Tien (1890 - 1967)
Thomas Tien Ken-sin was ordained a priest in 1918. After pastoral work in the Yangku Mission he entered the Society of the Divine Word in 1929 in Holland. He was raised to Apostolic Prefect of Yangku on February 2, 1934. In 1939, Tien was appointed Apostolic Vicar of Yangku and Titular Bishop of Ruspae. He received his episcopal consecration in the same year from Pope Pius XII. Tien was made Apostolic Vicar of Qingdao in 1942. He was created Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Via by Pope Pius XII in the consistory of February 18, 1946 and thus became the first cardinal from China. He was also the first Archbishop of Beijing, receiving nomination on April 11 of that same year. In 1951 he was exiled from China by the Communist regime, and went to Illinois. From 1962 to 1965, he attended the Second Vatican Council. He took part in the two papal conclaves of 1958 and 1963. Cardinal Tien died in Taipei, at age 76, where he is buried in the metropolitan cathedral.
Trivia fact: When he was made a cardinal in 1946, there was a shortage of silk in Italy. So the cardinalatial robes of Tien were borrowed from the wardrobes of the late cardinals Mundelein, O'Connell and Hayes, as the TIME-magazine reported.